On Feb. 21 at 1:30 p.m., as a blizzard sweptacross Wilson’s campus, the first installment of the F.R.E.S.H. series took place in Allen Auditorium.
At the event, Fulton Farm Manager Sarah Bay gave a talk about a recent trip that she took to Nicaragua. Community members, along with Wilson students and staff, gathered to listen to Bay’s newfound perspective on the relationship between cultures and sustainable agriculture.
Bay’s discussion, titled “The Land of Lakes and Volcanoes: Travels to Nicaragua,” was focused on her personal experiences while traveling in Central America during December. The trip was organized through the Young Grower Alliance out of Penn State University along with Project Gettysburg Leon. The purpose was to promote involvement in projects currently underway in Nicaragua while offering a culturally immersive experience for the participants. It was a trip marked by the theme of adventure and sustainability, made complete with volcanoes, paddle-boarding, outdoor showers and plenty of hands-on learning opportunities.
Along with learning about Nicaragua’s culture and landscape, Bay gained a large wealth of knowledge that she can apply to our very own Fulton Farm. She discussed the possibility of incorporating a permaculture garden in the future, inspired by the “food forests” that are prominent in Nicaraguan agricultural practices. Additionally, she learned about adaptability of farming practices, especially in relation to resiliency in the face of unpredictable weather.
When asked about her opinion of the presentation, Bay said, “It was a good chance for me to reflect on what I learned in Nicaragua and how it can relate to the farming practices at the Fulton Farm and also the wider trends in sustainable and organic agriculture and food in our communities and country.”
Bay believes that experiences like her own are very important for students.
“I would encourage any student to explore, pursue, and embrace traveling abroad, and especially to places different from the United States,” said Bay. “By seeking out traveling and educational experiences you become more understanding and appreciative of the new culture that surrounds you. You grow as a person in countless tangible and intangible ways.”
Bay’s talk functioned as a fascinating opening installment to the F.R.E.S.H. series while also serving as a bridge between the Wilson community and Nicaraguan culture.
The F.R.E.S.H. series will continue throughout the months of March and April with more programs relating to agriculture and food systems. From the perspective of a Wilson faculty member, Associate Professor of Philosophy John Elia believes that the F.R.E.S.H. series is an important event.
“As pressures to scale up food production increase with population increases, we more than ever have to pay attention to what we eat,” said Elia.
The next events include a discussion of Food Sources and Systems at Renfrew Institute on March 12 at 7:00 p.m. Additionally, there will be a book chat on March 14 held on campus to discuss Daphne Miller’s compelling book, “Farmacology.” With opportunities that extend across the world and back again, it is easier than ever to get F.R.E.S.H. at Wilson.